We Are Loonies And We Are Proud
OK, so on Tuesday I went to the Lyceum to see their joint production with Glasgow's Citizens' Theatre of Donna Franceschild's Takin' Over The Asylum. This was a stage adaptation of her own BAFTA-winning BBC Scotland TV series from way back in 1994. It's all about a hospital radio station in a Glasgow mental hospital, and the adaptation worked very well as Franceschild had taken the opportunity not only to revise the script to meet the demands of live staging but also to update references and introduce new topical ones. (I don't think in 1994 they had podcasts or live streaming to the web.) The human drama which is at the core of the story remains as relevant, and as little in need of updating, as it ever was, and the evening was very moving. the production was wonderful, the cast marvellous. Iain Robertson as Eddie the DJ was, I think, even better than Ken Stott in the TV version (and I'm a big Ken Stott fan). And if Brian Vernel as Campbell, the bipolar patient he takes on as a kind of apprentice, didn't manage to eclipse the memory of his television predecessor there is no shame in that. The TV Campbell was played by a young (God, how young!) David Tennant in his breakthrough role: I believe the lad went on to do quite well for himself.
This scene, for example, was great on stage, with Brian Vernel convincingly manic: but here is DT in full-on genius mode:
And here, for those who are interested, is David's audition tape for the TV production.
Makes you realise how tough it is to get into these things: but do a turn like his, and get the gig, and you're on your way. My daughter saw him - also at the Lyceum - as Jimmy Porter in Look Back In Anger a matter of months before he returned to a slightly bigger TV audience with two hearts and a police telephone box.